ICE Agents Arrest Nearly 200 in Southern California Over 5 Days

"This operation targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens, gang members, and individuals who have violated our nation's immigration laws, including those who re-entered the country after being deported and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges".

In all, 188 people were taken into custody between Saturday and Wednesday, with 169, or 90 percent, having prior criminal convictions, ICE officials said.

Those arrested include a 29-year-old Salvadoran man who had been deported after serving a nine-year prison term for rape, and a 51-year-old Mexican man who served three years in state prison for cocaine trafficking. Forty-three of the arrested individuals had drug offense convictions, and another 30 had been convicted for driving under the influence.

"Some of these unsafe individuals had been released to the streets instead of being turned over to ICE or our detainers, which compromises the safety of the homeland that ICE officers strive to protect every day", ERO Philadelphia Acting Field Office Director Jennifer Ritchey said in the release.

"He has been placed in immigration removal proceedings", ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. According to the agency, the arrestees consisted of 177 men and 11 women and included nationals from 11 countries - Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Armenia, Honduras, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Yugoslavia and Cambodia.

Of the recent Southern California arrests, eight people face federal prosecution for returning to the USA illegally after being deported.

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to expose the treatment of hunger strikers in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.

At least eight individuals may could face up to 20 years behind bars for alleged re-entry to the country after deportation.

The majority of the arrests, 93, were made in Los Angeles County, with others arrested in five surrounding counties, including Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

President Donald Trump's administration has touted an increase in immigration arrests since taking office in January on promises to bolster immigration enforcement.

An individual being arrested by an ICE officer during this week's raids.

“His daughter is active-duty military, his son-in-law is active duty military, ” Pasquarella said. However, he noted, ICE officials stated they were targeting individuals who were "at large" and likely not in custody.

It was not known Thursday how many of those arrested in the operation may have been green card holders, who are also subject to removal if convicted of certain crimes, Marin said.